Featured Artists

Interview with Natalia Fabia

For the May edition of our artist interview series, we had the opportunity to chat with oil painter Natalia Fabia. Her work has been featured in numerous galleries and art fairs around the country including the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York, Zhou B Art Center in Chicago, M Modern in Palm Springs, Sirona Gallery in Florida, The LA Art Show, and the Palm Beach International Art Fair. Natalia spoke to us about her origins as an oil painter, her need to create, and how teaching has helped her grow as an artist. Check out the interview below!

  1. Where are you from and where do you currently reside? 

I am from Los Angeles but live in Orange County now. Originally I am from Poland, that’s where my parents are from and Polish is my first language.  

  1. What drew you to working with oil paints, and how did it feel when you did it for the first time? 

I first started painting in oils at School. Being an illustration major, I actually painted a lot with acrylic in college as well. Everyone said my acrylic paintings look like oil. Sometimes acrylic can look plastic-y which I didn’t like. But I think the deciding factor to choose to use oil paint was that there is nothing that has the look or effect and it is so traditional. There is history there. We are using these pigments and mediums in the same way the old masters did. I loved their texture and buttery quality, I love that they don’t dry quickly. First time using them was tough – they were slippery and messy. NOW I am in LOVE!

3. As a professional artist, what does your day-to-day look like?  

My day to day is typically waking up super early, meditating, working out, getting my daughter ready for school and then heading to the studio. I try to paint as long as I can. But I’ve always also recently made it a point to come home for dinner. And spend time with my family. In the past, I always put painting first and just painted every second that I could. I still do that when I have a deadline!

4. What has kept you engaged and committed to your craft over the years? 

The need to create!  Early on I was just crazy – too impulsive and excited. I was a workaholic however that’s also what probably helped me get to where I am. I was never super organized before, I had the time whenever I wanted. Now I really find that time management is key! I will never be super organized but even being a bit more is extremely helpful!

5. How have you grown as an artist in the past five years and what are the major contributing factors to your growth? 

A major contributing factor to my growth in the last five years has been teaching consistently. I have learned so much by doing that. It’s helping me experiment and find my true self more. Painting at the studio every day and having a child, who is now 10 years old have also contributed to my growth! I am now taking care of her plus running my studio, which is actually easier than when she was younger. She can do so much on her own and I don’t have to watch her every two seconds. She and her friends come over all the time and paint so that has been really fun to watch. I am pregnant now so we will see what change that brings to my work too!

6. What materials do you most commonly use? 

I primarily paint in oils. My favorites are Sennelier oils. I love their creamy quality. They have high quality pigments and their range of colors is amazing! I love a range of sable to bristle brushes. I typically use long handle brushes. I paint on multiple surfaces. I prefer sturdy panels over canvases that give you a pushback. I love high-quality fine linen. 

Oh! and my absolute favorite mediums are Sennelier’s Green for oil thinner, medium and gel! They are non-toxic and lifesavers!  I have all of my students use them.

7. Do you have any advice for up-and-coming oil painters? Are there any tips or techniques you can offer? 

Paint paint paint! As much as you can. Take many classes and learn from different painters. Research, try to get to know as many artists’ work as you can. Art history through time. Pay attention to what you like AND want you don’t. What you dislike is just as important as what you like. It helps you find yourself and your style. Also, take care of your mind and body! Meditate, do yoga, stretch and take breaks. Painting can be tough on your back, shoulder, and wrists. Don’t ignore that!  It will help your endurance and you’ll paint more! 

8. What are your website and social media links? 

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